Rhythmik Study: Naya Allies

I’d like to preface this article with an apology to readers of Testing: One, Two Three. Many things came up in my real life (school) that precluded me from keeping up with the two hours of video a week needed to do the column. And, let’s face it, I prefer writing to recording, anyway. It is currently my understanding that “Testing” is in limbo, and I will be discussing matters with the editors to see how quickly we can get the column back online.

Choice of Damnations

In testing to decide what deck would be best for this article, I had a myriad of decklists to look through through all of the Daily Events since Worldwake was released online. Jund was still obviously the big man on campus, having ridiculous amounts of 4-0 and 3-1 finishers packing four Bloodbraid Elves, Raging Ravines and Lavaclaw Reaches. But, in the end, three decks really stuck out to me. The first was Grixis Discard Control; packing Blightning, Sedraxis Specter, and even Slavering Nulls to try to rip apart an opponent’s hand so the Grixis player can beat down with cheap threats.

lord_ra (2nd Place)
Standard Premier #1064519 on 03/29/2010

The second deck was ChrisKool’s own take on Valakut Combo in Standard. I piloted this deck to quite a few 3-1′s and 4-0′s right before Worldwake was released, but have not been able to pick it up again until recently while doing testing for this very article. I covered this archetype during February’s “Testing: One, Two, Three” for anyone interested. While the deck does play a bit differently than it’s incarnation in Block Constructed, the Endgame is almost identical.

ChristopherKool (3-1)
Standard Daily #1064462 on 03/26/2010

My final deck choice was Naya Allies. While the Ally Archetype did not have the power level high enough to be considered for Constructed play prior to Worldwake, the addition of cards like Hada Freeblade – the one-mana creature the Archetype lacked previously – and Akoum Battlesinger – a 2/1 the turn it comes into play that in multiples can make even a small horde of allies ridiculous in power – pushed the viability of the archetype well into the realm of Standard.

Jernhoeg (3-1)
Standard Daily #1064472 on 03/29/2010

Anyone who has read my articles or knows anything about my playstyle will know that in order for a deck to make me happy, it has to have two qualities. First, the deck needs to be rogue. Words cannot describe the advantage any given player gets when playing a deck that his opponents don’t know how to play against, and either don’t have the proper cards in their sideboard, or don’t know how to sideboard properly against the deck. Second, the deck should be Aggro. While I’m comfortable playing any Archetype, nothing in my opinion can beat the feeling of attacking for two, five, or ten damage every turn. Given these criterion, the choice was obvious – Naya Allies.

Unlikely Alliance

As I said before, the Allies Archetype has skyrocketed in power level with the release of Worldwake. The possibility of playing Hada Freeblade, followed by Akoum Battlesinger followed by another Akoum Battlesinger can produce SIXTEEN damage by Turn 3, if unanswered. Kabira Evangel helps force through damage, Kazandu Blademaster halts attacks, while still swinging in on your turn, and Talus Paladin can completely turn games around while you’re on the ropes.

One problem with a deck like this is that it needs to be very creature heavy, and every spell needs to be an ally, or trigger them in some way, but there aren’t enough viable allies to fill as many as 36 slots. This is where cards like Kor Skyfisher, Bloodbraid Elf, Ranger of Eos, and Violent Outburst shine. Kor Skyfisher, returning a Bloodbraid Elf or an Akoum Battlesinger can become insane for obvious reasons. Ranger of Eos sets up two ally triggers – either to prepare for a same-turn alpha strike, to recover board position after Day of Judgment, or to ration ally triggers for the next two turns. Some lists even include a one-of Goblin Bushwhacker to force through hasty damage from newly-played allies, or to serve as an Akoum Battlesinger that affects everyone – not just allies. Violent Outburst is also amazing, simply because every cascade will hit an ally, so all ally abilities will trigger at instant speed, typically giving your creatures protection when you have Kabira Evangel in play, or serving as a mid-combat Glorious Anthem for Hada Freeblade, Oran-Rief Survivalist, Kazandu Blademaster, and Talus Paladin.

Naya Charm shines the most in this deck, simply because it fills so many roles. The (surprisingly) worst role it fills is being the only actual removal spell in the Main Deck. The 3 Damage mode will just not be used unless it is absolutely necessary. The second role it fills is the same every other spell fills – being another ally. Many people forget that Naya Charm functions as an Instant-speed Regrowth, returning any ally – including Bloodbraid Elf and Violent Outburst to your hand. The third, and best role Naya Charm fills is the ability to tap all creatures your opponent controls. Being able to not only Fog all damage an opponent would deal that turn, but also render any creature that would be held back unable to block is just invaluable in most matchups, especially Jund and the mirror.

Careful Study

Like any deck that a simple minded person like me would play, this deck involves playing lots of creatures early and praying your opponent doesn’t run Day of Judgment. Sort of. Ideal progression for playing creatures involves playing a couple of allies that get +1/+1 counters first, then playing support allies such as Kabira Evangel. Talus Paladin should only be played when you already have at least a few allies in play, to take full advantage of lifelink, and Akoum Battlesinger should be played at any time that forcing through damage is beneficial. Overall, I have found Bloodbraid Elf to be the best thing to play on Turn 4, as long as you are not staring down close to lethal damage. Of course, if you are on the ropes and have two to three allies in play, Talus Paladin is the obvious choice.

Against Jund, the best strategy I’ve found is to play aggressively, and try not to overextend into Maelstrom Pulse. The MVPs in this matchup are Kabira Evangel and Naya Charm. When Kabira Evangel is in play, don’t forget that Violent Outburst becomes a Hindering Light. Just get out Kabira Evangel and force through as much damage as possible. Late game, Stirring Wildwood should be able to hold off Bloodbraid Elf and Sprouting Thrinax and can block half a Broodmate Dragon in a pinch.

Sideboard +3 Dauntless Escort +2 Ondu Cleric +1 Naya Charm -2 Kor Skyfisher -2 Ranger of Eos -2 Akoum Battlesinger

Against Open the Vaults, the strategy Game 1 is to simply fight against futility. If they resolve Open the Vaults to return a Filigree Angel, the game is pretty much lost. Just be as aggressive as possible without overextending into Day of Judgment. They play very few creatures early, so punishing a bad hand should be relatively easy. After sideboarding, resolving a Turn 4 Tuktuk Scrapper completely halts their board development, destroying their “land” drops and dealing three damage in the process.

Sideboard +3 Dauntless Escort +3 Tuktuk Scrapper -3 Talus Paladin -2 Ranger of Eos -1 Kor Skyfisher

Against Boss Naya, I’m relatively confident that without a Turn 2 Knight of the Reliquary or an early Baneslayer Angel, this deck should be able to Out-aggro Boss Naya. The biggest problem is going to be the Cunning Sparkmages that come out of the sideboard that will kill all X/1 allies. I’m relatively sure smart players are going to board in the Behemoth Sledge package over the Basilisk Collar package, but with as many tutors for equipment as Boss Naya runs, I wouldn’t be comfortable without bringing in a pair of Scrappers.

Sideboard +2 Tuktuk Scrapper +3 Path to Exile +1 Naya Charm -2 Ranger of Eos -2 Kor Skyfisher -1 Talus Paladin

Of course, these are all tentative sideboard lists, and I may end up eating my words in the future.


Overall, I think this deck is really good, especially with its ability to churn out high amounts of damage before other decks can even develop any board position. I think a perfect list has yet to be found, but the archetype is starting to surge in popularity. The deck is definitely worth a try, especially if you are on a budget – earlier this week, I built the deck with cards I had laying in my collection (including 4 Bloodbraid Elf) and about thirty tickets! I’d love for you guys to give this deck a try and leave some feedback on the archetype. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more deck tech, and as always…

See you in the queues!


  1. Good read. I’ve been playing UW allies, which are okay. I’m going to build Naya allies.
    Hadn’t thought of skyfisher, that is an awesome 2 of, thank you!
    I’ve considered splinter twin, manabarbs with harabaz druid, and a pithing needle in the sideboard. Hope that helps.